We're in the month of November guys and it's time to really start gearing up for the holidays! I'm not sure if you all are as excited as I am - I'm talking ready to put up the Christmas tree excited - but this Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese should get you leaning in that direction.
Mac and Cheese is a quintessential holiday side dish and there are so many phenomenal renditions of this classic dish out there. Of course, the cheese is the star of any mac and cheese recipe and there are TONS to choose from. You want to stick with a good melting variety however, and not a harder cheese. Some great cheeses for mac and cheese are cheddar, gruyere, fontina and of course - Gouda. The smoked gouda cheese gives this mac an insane smoky flavor and the creamiest texture.
Making Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese
The secret to a good mac and cheese, other than the cheese of course, is the béchamel sauce! Béchamel is really just a fancy word for a cream based gravy.
First, cook your pasta according to the package instructions. Be sure and cook just until al dente as the pasta will continue to cook while baking.
Sauté your chopped onion in your butter until translucent. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about another minute.
Add flour to pan and stir to incorporate with the butter. Stir and cook a minute or two to cook out the raw flour taste.
Slowly add half and half to flour mixture, whisking constantly so lumps do not form. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, nutmeg and a pinch of cayenne. Continue to simmer until sauce slightly thickens.
While the sauce is simmering, mix panko breadcrumbs, melted butter, salt, pepper and chopped parsley in a small bowl with a fork until combined.
Mix in cheeses, reserving some for the top. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Next, add cooked macaroni to pan with cheese sauce and stir to combine.
Transfer Mac and Cheese to a buttered 9x13 baking dish and top with reserved cheese then panko breadcrumb topping. Bake until top is golden and bubbling. It should smell divine! Serve immediately.
Store Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese in an air tight container for up to three days in the fridge.
You Will Also Love this Southern Mac and Cheese Recipe!
Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese
- 8 ounce uncooked pasta shells
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 ½ cups half and half
- ½ -1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼-½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups smoked gouda cheese freshly grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
Panko Breadcrumb Topping
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- pinch of salt and black pepper
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
- Cook pasta shells according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Melt butter in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. As soon as butter melts, add chopped onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Whisk in flour. Continue whisking until flour is completely mixed in with butter. Cook for about a minute to get rid of the raw flour taste.
- Slowly add half and half, a little at a time, stirring constantly so lumps do not form. Simmer for about 3-5 minutes until mixture thickens slightly.
- While sauce is simmering, combine panko breadcrumbs, melted butter, salt, pepper and chopped parsley in a small bowl with a fork until combined and set aside.
- Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, nutmeg and cayenne to sauce and stir to incorporate.
- Stir in the cheeses, reserving some for topping. Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the cooked pasta to the pot and stir to evenly incorporate.
- Transfer the pasta mixture into a buttered 9x13 baking dish; top with remaining cheese and panko breadcrumb topping.
- Bake at 375 Degrees F° for 20-25 minutes or until golden and bubbly.